The first political winner of the week mention goes to the Democratic Party, who picked up a powerful new ally. Charlie Crist, elected as the Republican governor of Florida in 2006, announced his decision to become a member of the Democratic Party. Crist had been an independent previously to this announcement. Two years ago, Charlie Crist became an independent during his 2010 run for Senate, when Marco Rubio appeared during the primary to challenge Crist for the nomination. Crist had allowed abortion rights laws to pass in the state while naming himself pro-life, and he also came out in favor of higher pay for teachers. These actions estranged Crist from many state Republicans. As an independent, he endorsed President Obama for re-election this year. Anytime someone of the stature of Crist switches sides in politics, it is a big win for the party getting the new member.
Another winner from the left side of the aisle for the week is Hillary Clinton. The outgoing Secretary of State is the (very) early leading contender for the 2016 presidential nomination from the Democratic Party. James Carville stated this week that is his opinion, “Ninety percent of democrats want Hillary Clinton.” It would be a surprise if she did not run next time around. Whether or not she decides to enter the fracas and when she makes her announcement could change the plans of several other potential candidates, who may wish to avoid a head-to-head matchup with the former First Lady.
Speaking of First Ladies,Public Policy Polling has recently conducted a poll in Illinois that puts Michelle Obama ahead of incumbent Senator Mark Kirk 51-40 in a 2016 head-to-head matchup for Kirk’s current post. Although Ms. Obama says that she has no plans so far to run for any public office, this poll has to encourage party insiders who may be salivating over the idea of Michelle Obama running for Senate or the Oval Office in the near future.
Although not a winner or loser so far, as we discussed last week, the president is continuing to reject Republican plans to avert the looming fiscal cliff. Whether he can continue doing this and still successfully paint the Republicans and John Boehner as obstructionists remains to be seen.
The only loser this week would be the Republican Party; this is not because they did anything wrong or due to falling into a specific blunder, but because the Democrats made so many small steps forward in the last seven days.
What happens next week remains to be seen.
(White House photo)